Tag Archives: soup

Simple Cookery from a Simple Man

My soup recipe just got even lazier because TESCO are now doing vegetable packs specifically for soup, with everything cut small and mixed with onions and chilli. Add water, a stock cube and a hand blender and you have soup. I put garlic in this one too. And a few extra onions.

At this time of year our kitchen is so cold you can leave it in a pan on top of the cooker with no need to use the fridge. We’ve had it for tea once and I’ve had it for lunch three times. The rest will go in the vegetable curry tomorrow.

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Sweet potato, butternut squash, onion, garlic and chilli soup

We also had the lazy pie this week.

Chop leeks, celery, chicken, mushrooms and tarragon.

Soften the veg and brown the chicken, Stir in some flour and milk to make a sauce bit and bung it in a pie dish.  We had a gammon joint this week too, so I cubed some of it to make this a chicken and ham pie. This is optional.

Then unroll a sheet of ready-made puff pastry, cut off a bit about the size of the pie dish.

Argue about who had the pastry brush last.

Pour a little milk on top of the pie and rub it round lightly with your finger tips.

Add “pastry brush” to the shopping list.

Cook until it”s brown on top. This takes about 40 minutes if you put it in the oven cold but I really don’t see the point in heating up an empty oven first.

Serve with whatever veg you have. We had brussels and red cabbage (which I make in quantity and eat all week).  With hindsight I could have selected a less environmentally damaging combination. Think methane.

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Chicken Pie and vegetables – sorry about the smudge on the lens

I know ready-made pastry and “parachute pies” (ones with just a top and no bottom) are all frowned on on serious pie circles, but ask me if I’m bothered. It’s crispy, it’s flaky and it tastes good. You don’t need all that stuff underneath.

This cooking stuff really is quite simple. I can’t really see how so many people seem to be able to make a career out of it with TV and cookery books and  such. As for Delia Smith being made a Companion of Honour “for services to cookery”, well I am, for once, speechless…

Progress of Sorts…

Make chicken stew. It’s in the oven. Several hours late.

Soup? Er…just about to do it. Veg are ready but I need to wash a pan as I’ve been storing compost scraps in it for the last few days. Yes, I need to empty a bokashi bucket.

Curry. It won’t take long.

Living room – I’ve moved stuff round, which is related to tidying, though not closely related. More a cousin than a sibling.

Hoover. Perhaps tomorrow.

Meanwhile I have washed up and done the recycling, which I’d forgotten about. I often forget the washing up, though not as much as Number Two son, who is a world class amnesiac. Also watched darts and discussed the finer parts of sports marketing and sponsorship with Number Two son. Had bacon cobs with mushrooms for lunch.

Cut up plastic bottles to make poppies. (and give me an excuse to re-use old photos of poppies).

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Poppies made from plastic bottles

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Poppies and corn wreath

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Soups

I tried Mushroom and Tarragon soup last week. I really wanted to do Mushroom and Thyme because we’d enjoyed it while we were out a few months ago. However, our thyme has given up the ghost and the supermarket had none. It did, however, have tarragon, As I’d seen a recipe fot Mushroom and Tarragon Soup recently I thought I’d have a crack at that. The rest of the tarragon was earmaked for a chicken casserole next day.

Now, that was good as far as it went. There was a lack of ingredients when I got back to the house butit’s not the first time that ingenuity has had to replace missing ingrdients. Next time I try it I’m going to use this recipe, give or take a few bits. It looks quite simple. It’ll be onions rather than banana shallots and, unless I win the lottery, there won’t be any porcini powder or pink Himalayan salt.

The first attempt did not go well. Apart from the fact that ingenuity doesn’t taste as good as cream, there was the water problem. I usually fill the pan up with veg then pour in a kettle of water. I did this and then stopped to think. With hindsight, it might have been better to think first. It was a bit watery but not entirely bad. Nobody asked for a second helping.

I like to think I retrieved the situation with today’s soup. It’s the old stand-by – packets of ready-chopped squash and sweet potato, garlic, onion, chilli, stock cubes and water. This time I added curry powder for a more spicy flavour. It’s less orange than previous versions due to the curry powder. It’s a sort of khaki, but still reasonably attractive.

My mother, when she first bought a liquidiser, used to produce a greenish soup that always looked like it had been festering since the days of the dinosaurs. Once she moved on to root vegetables the soup seemed so much better.

The first bite, as they say, is taken with the eyes.

 

Lazy Soup

I never did get to make that soup yesterday. I was diverted by the need to stack the bokashi bucket and clean forgot. Next thing I knew, I had a sandwich in one hand and… a sandwich in the other. It was organic brown bread so I feel reasonably virtuous. Please notice that I’ve avoided the “balanced diet” joke. Well, side-stepped it rather than actually avoided it I suppose.

I did get round to it today though, and it worked out well. It’s a nicely seasoned brownish soup, partly due to the seasoning, which changes the colour from orange.

It’s easy and almost free of effort, hence the title.

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients

Three bags of ready chopped Sweet Potato/Butternut Squash from TESCO. They are three for the price of two at the moment.

Half a pack of ready-chopped onions.

Three cloves of garlic. Chopped.

A piece of ginger about twice the size of the top of my thumb. Chopped.

Two organic vegetable stock cubes (they were on offer).

Two heaped teaspoons of cumin.

Water. How much water? Enough to cover and simmer. Maybe some to dilute.

Method

Soften the onions. I browned them by accident but it didn’t do any harm. Let#s face it, this isn’t Masterchef.

Throw in the rest of the stuff and add water.

Simmer for around 20 minutes.

Use stick blender to reduce to soup. Dilute to taste.

 

I meant to add a red chilli because I wanted to add some heat and some red flecks to the soup. Unfortunately I can’t find where Julia put the chillis when she stacked the shopping.

If you do it with chilli you can probably leave out the cumin, which will give you a much more orange soup, with more heat but less depth of flavour.

It’s so easy I should do it more often.

Normally I would chop my own veg, but a combination of knee and back pain means I can’t stand and cook for too long, At the moment quick is good, even if it does cost more.

Monday, Bloody Monday

I have mixed feelings about Mondays. Mainly I like them because they are a new start after the weekend, but I’m prepared to make an exception for today.

Last week I made an appointment with the doctor for 8.40, which is a good time for me as early appointments usually run to time. It’s also, with it being one of Julia’s days off, early enough not to impact on the rest of the day.

Good plan, apart from one thing. She swapped days this week. Not only that, but she was asked to take a cookery session. She was also told it had to be banana cake because that’s what the group wanted. Then she was told she would have to buy the ingredients and claim the cost back.

So, feeling guilty at not being able to deliver her to work, I had to drop her off at the bus station.

At that point one of the “bags for life” gave up the ghost on the pavement. Fortunately we had a replacement in the back of the car.

When I got to the doctor I was glad I had my book with me, as my theory on early appointment timing  proved to be inaccurate. However, I quite like reading, and wasn’t too bothered. I also managed to get out, after a review of my tablets, without gaining any extra ailments, which is always a bonus. I’ve even managed to reduce the number of tablets I take.

In TESCO, my pharmacy of choice these days, I was ambushed and asked to answer some questions on my medication. It wasn’t exactly a searching set of questions, so I suspect I’ve just become a tick in a box. I’m not even sure if I’m irritated by this or not.

Once back home I spent time looking for a set of A4 dividers marked with the months. I was positive I had a set, and even promised Julia I would …

I suppose you can guess the rest. The set I had in mind has 20 numbered dividers, which just aren’t going to do the year-planning job I had in mind.

Did I mention the broadband keeps going off?

And I forgot to buy yoghurt in TESCO.

I think that’s it. I’m making soup in a minute and from there the only way is up.

 

Fish Pie

I need to brush up on my food presentation technique and buy plain plates, but I think the photograph gives the general idea.  It’s fish pie with peas, sweetcorn, onions, mushrooms and dill in the sauce. It’s topped with sweet potato and served with carrots, asparagus and a cabbage and broccoli mix. They aren’t all full portions but I imagine there are six portions lurking in there.

Yes, I feel guilty about the out of season South American asparagus but nobody is perfect.

At one time I would have sat back with a snug expression on my face, having done a day’s veg in one meal. Since recent changes to government advice it’s now only 60% of my day’s intake. Even with thick cut marmalade for breakfast, a pickled onion with my lunch and two bits of fruit I’m falling short of the new target.

Looks like I’m going to have to rethink breakfast and eat vegetable soup for lunch. Or salad. For the rest of my life.

That’s the paradox. The healthier my diet (which is something achieved by eating food I don’t enjoy) the longer I will live. And the longer I live, the more salad I’m going to have to eat.

 

 

Notes on Food

We had the final two bean burgers tonight, served up with salad, mayonnaise, ketchup and a soft white roll. Julia’s was a little dry, despite the mayo. Mine was nice and moist. The difference between the two was that she had the one that I hadn’t dropped in the  washing up bowl. That’s what happens when you work in a cramped space and don’t tidy up as you go.

Luckily I was able to grab it quickly and dry it with kitchen paper. It was good, but even if it did produce a nice moist burger it’s not a technique I’ll be recommending.

No pictures – we ate it before I remembered.

We will be having soup for lunch tomorrow, and at least one other day. I made a big pan of it yesterday. It’s sweet potato, butternut squash, chilli and ginger. Initial tests indicate it’s tasty and I’m likely to have clear sinuses by the end of the week. Chilli and ginger are both good for you so I’m starting to add more to all my recipes.

After drawing a blank last night I found a fully-stocked offal section at the supermarket today and now have the sheep hearts I need for hearts and plum sauce. I also have plums, though I’m feeling guilty about buying out of season Chilean plums.

Strange that I could buy plums but couldn’t buy Bramley apples. Even stranger, when looking at the cheese TESCO stocks four sorts of goat’s milk cheese but only two sorts of Stilton. Even if you accept goat’s milk cheese as proper cheese there’s no excuse for only stocking two sorts of Stilton when we’re in the geographically protected area.